When the first Formula 1 race in Turkey was announced, the country didn’t yet have a suitable permanent racing circuit. That was put right with the construction of Istanbul Park, located on the Asian side of the capital city. Designed like many other modern F1 venues by Hermann Tilke, it opened in August 2005, just in time for the first-ever Turkish Grand Prix.
Very quickly it earned a reputation as perhaps Tilke’s greatest ever creation. Important to this was the use of natural elevation changes, which led to flattering comparisons with other famous circuits. Just like Interlagos, Istanbul was built with an anti-clockwise layout, and the opening downhill left-right sequence was compared to the ‘Senna S’ on the Brazilian track. Other sections were compared to Suzuka, Spa-Francorchamps and Laguna Seca. High praise indded One part in particular became very popular with the drivers – despite the strain it put on their necks. The long, multi-apex Turn 8 left-hander is also the most demanding corner for the tyres, particularly the front-right.